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Bavaria drafts law to ban full-face veil months before German elections

In December, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ban on full-face Muslim veils 'wherever legally possible', after she suffered electoral setbacks in regional elections where the AfD managed to get a significant vote share. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Munich, Germany Feb 22, 2017, 04.32 AM (IST)

The southern German state of Bavaria has decided to ban full-face veils in public places like schools, universities, government workplaces and polling stations.

The regional government drafted a law to ban the full-face veil for civil servants, and in public places where there are concerns for public safety. 

"Communication happens not only via language but also via looks, facial expressions and gestures," Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann said.

"It's the foundation of our interactions with each other and it's the basis of our free and democratic order. Concealing your face is at odds with this culture of communication," he added. 

The Bavarian conservatives that govern the region, the sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's, are worried about the rise in popularity of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD)
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He expects the regional parliament of Bavaria to approve the law. 

Elections are due in Germany in seven months and immigration is expected to dominate campaigning.

The Bavarian conservatives that govern the region, the sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's, are worried about the rise in popularity of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).

In December, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ban on full-face Muslim veils "wherever legally possible", after she suffered electoral setbacks in regional elections where the AfD managed to get a significant vote share. 

France and Belgium have already banned burqas. 

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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